Are You Good Enough? (by John Cooper)

I recently went back home, where my parents still live, for a visit. It’s an old mining town with one cash point, a boarded up high street and a Wetherspoons. I left there twenty-five years ago to make my fortune with a knotted hanky on a stick and a mangey cat. I miss my family and the fish and chips more than I do the casual violence and miserable weather.

 I was walking up the road and someone called out my name. It was a lad I’d gone to school with and not seen since. He’d have nicked your dinner money so much as look at you back then. Troubled soul. I wasn’t sure if he’d give me a mouthful of abuse or a bunch of fives but instead, he shook my hand and greeted me like an old comrade. He said how he regretted being badly behaved at school and how he’d worked in a factory since then, making components for washing machines. He’d recently lost his parents but had a wife he loved, a child he adored and a new goal in life- that his son would grow up well educated, hard-working and ambitious. All of the things he wasn’t back then. He had taken him out of our old school and to a better one, seven miles away. He drops him off and picks him up most days and takes him swimming on a Saturday. He reads to him at night. He said that he’d had some therapy a few years ago and realised that his problems at school had been because he had low self-confidence.

Sadness and anger will catch up with you eventually. When he stopped covering it up, he had a bit of a breakdown and came through it a kinder, happier soul.

I was proud of him. He had been through hard times and was better because of it. He got help and that takes courage. Since then I have looked at people my age and thought, ‘Well done for surviving’. I suppose we see ourselves reflected back at us.

I’ve started to cry at films and tv shows, out of the blue. Not out of sadness, either. It’s a bit baffling to be honest but I’m running with it. It’s like I’m letting go of something.

I spend my working days with people who are struggling with something that is causing pain and they can’t make it go away themselves. I listen and help to find a bit of magic for them to let go. Often, I find that the root of their problem lies in their relationship with themselves.

A wise friend once told me that every sad person suffered from the same thing- a voice inside their head that says, ‘I’m not good enough’. One of the things I love about hypnosis is that it teaches you to talk to yourself with kindness. To teach the voices in your head to sing.